In this study, the potential use of the fungus Pleurotus sajor caju to remove phenols (i.e., phenol, o-chlorophenol, p-chlorophenol and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol) from aqueous solutions was evaluated. Biosorption of phenol or chlorophenols reached equilibrium in 4 h. The maximum adsorptions of phenol and chlorophenols onto the Pleurotus sajor caju were 0.95 mmol/g for phenol, 1.24 mmol/g for o-chlorophenol, 1.47 mmol/g for p-chlorophenol and 1.89 mmol/g for 2,4,6-trichlorophenol. The affinity order was as follows: 2,4,6-trichlorophenol > p-chloroplienol > o-chlorophenol > phenol. Phenol and chlorophenols bindings onto Pleurotus sajor caju were clearly pH dependent. The adsorption of phenol and chlorophenols increased with increasing pH. Desorption was achieved using methanol solution (30%,, v/v). Pleurotus sajor caju biomass is suitable for reuse for more than five cycles without noticeable loss of adsorption capacity. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.